Nonempty Intersection of Longest Paths in $2K_2$-Free Graphs

  • Gili Golan
  • Songling Shan
Keywords: $2K_2$-free graphs, Longest paths, Dominating paths


In 1966, Gallai asked whether all longest paths in a connected graph share a common vertex. Counterexamples indicate that this is not true in general. However, Gallai's question is positive for certain well-known classes of connected graphs, such as split graphs, interval graphs, circular arc graphs, outerplanar graphs, and series-parallel graphs. A graph is $2K_2$-free if it does not contain two independent edges as an induced subgraph. In this short note, we show that, in nonempty $2K_2$-free graphs, every vertex of maximum degree is common to all longest paths. Our result implies that all longest paths in a nonempty $2K_2$-free graph have a nonempty intersection. In particular, it strengthens the result on split graphs, as split graphs are $2K_2$-free.

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